March 11, 2020 / 1:03 PM / a month ago

UK cuts growth forecasts for 2020, increases for 2021

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak walks with the budget box outside his office in Downing Street in London, Britain March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced updated growth forecasts for the country’s economy which was on course to expand by 1.1% this year and 1.8% in 2021, as he presented his first annual budget on Wednesday.

In March 2019, the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast growth of 1.4% for 2020 and 1.6% for 2021.

Wednesday’s OBR growth forecasts were finalised before the past week’s sharp fall in share prices and rise in the number of coronavirus cases worldwide.

Sunak announced the OBR forecasts as he delivered the first budget plan of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new government.

Britain’s economy grew 1.4% last year, below its long-run average.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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